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UK Battery Industrialisation Centre Invesment

Published: Thursday, 16 May 2019

Battery Centre

Coventry to get £28m to develop electric vehicle technology as part of first local industrial strategy

Coventry is set to cement its position at the heart of the electric vehicle revolution after it was announced the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre is to benefit from an additional £28m of government funding.

The announcement is to be made by Business Secretary Greg Clark during a visit to the Advanced Propulsion Centre in Coventry as part of the first local industrial strategy in the country.

Mr Clark will say the Government is to provide a further £28 million for the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre being built in Coventry.

The battery centre will provide world-leading testing facilities for new battery technologies, and the Government investment will also provide practical training in battery manufacturing.

The £80m UK Battery Industrialisation Centre is due to open in Whitley, Coventry, next year.

In itself it will create around 100 jobs but it is seen as a catalyst for what might follow in its wake and thought to have the potential to unlock 10,000 new jobs once it is running at full capacity.

Bringing the facility to Coventry, which won out in a national competition to choose where it would be sited, could prove a key building block for Coventry to become the UK’s ‘motor city’ once again.

The latest funding announcement is one of the measures in the West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy, developed in collaboration with hundreds of businesses and backed by regional mayor Andy Street and council leaders.

The strategy, which is being launched today by Mr Clark and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, sets out plans for the West Midlands to be at the forefront of the development of cleaner, safer, easier and more reliable future modes of transport.

The objectives of the West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy

  • Playing a leading role in the UK’s trials of connected autonomous vehicles, with the West Midlands aiming to deploy the first fully operational connected autonomous vehicles - or self-driving cars - in advance of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
  • Putting investment into electric vehicle manufacturing in the region.
  • Delivering the UK’s first large-scale 5G testbed in the West Midlands. This ties in with plans to develop autonomous vehicles, because they will use 5G technology to communicate.
  • Supporting the development of a West Midlands Translational Medicine and Med-Tech commission to help new medical technical technology get to patients sooner.

What Business Secretary Greg Clark said

Mr Clark said: “This Local Industrial Strategy is tailored to the specific challenges in the West Midlands, and will set an example for other regions to follow.

“Our funding for the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in Coventry is a key part of this, and will see a world-class facility developed in this automotive heartland, further cementing opportunities, growth and inward investment in the West Midlands.”

He said the Government had provided funding for the region including £20m to help it become the UK’s first “Future Mobility Zone” - introducing new technologies to encourage more seamless and efficient journeys.

And £332m from the government’s Transforming Cities Fund is being used to extend the Midlands Metro, with an initial focus on extending the system in the Black Country.

The West Midlands has also received the most funding for any UK region from the Government’s flagship fund for research and development, the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which has so far invested £286m into projects in the region.

What West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “The West Midlands is already home to the industries of tomorrow.

“We have some of the world’s most competitive and innovative companies in advanced manufacturing, electric and autonomous vehicle development and medical research.

“This Local Industrial Strategy is about capitalising on those strengths to release the region’s full economic potential for the benefit of all our communities.”

What the CBI had to say

Richard Butler, CBI West Midlands director, said: “As the first local industrial strategy to be launched, we hope the West Midlands Industrial Strategy will start a domino effect of robust strategies being rolled out across the country.

“It shows the real value of political leaders working with one another to unlock economic growth - creating jobs, driving productivity and improving living standards across communities.

“The West Midlands is well positioned to deal with the big challenges of tomorrow, with the Advanced Propulsion Centre delivering zero emission vehicles and the region’s development of the UK’s first multi-city 5G testing ground.

“The best way to build upon the strengths of the UK’s vibrant regions is for business and politicians to work closely together.

“Now is the time to redouble efforts on implementing the local industrial strategies, making their impact real to businesses and people across the country. Failure to address our stubbornly persistent productivity challenge is not an option.”